29/02/2016

The X Files Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-monster



Season 10 Episode 2 Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster
Reviewed by Chris Arnsby

SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!

Definitely better. I wonder if what's keeping me from properly enjoying this run of episodes is that I keep trying to work out the point of this new series of the X-Files? Beyond just making more episodes of the X-Files; obviously. When Doctor Who came back it made sure to tell stories that wouldn't have been possible during the original run. The remake of Battlestar Galactica took the premise of the original series and then wrote plots about religion and paranoia and the War on Terror. Star Trek: The Next Generation took great pains in the first series to distance itself from the looming shadow of the original series ("the Klingons are our friends now...ooh look here come the Ferengi"). And then the X-Files comes back and starts acting like Clinton is still President. If the series is being made to provide a jolt of nostalgia for people like me then why risk alienating existing fans with the mass junking of the series mythology in episode one? If these new episodes are to capture a new generation of fans then why draw so heavily on the past; as the second episode does when it tries to reach closure with regard to Mulder and Scully's child? And, to be honest, I'd forgotten they even had a child. I dropped those later seasons down the memory hole.



"Alright, mate?" "Alright, late night?

Ironically that is part of the theme of this episode. Stop worrying too much about stuff. It's part of the human condition to fret about death, and mortgages, and the truth, and other self-imposed emotional traps which only exist because we're self aware. Consider the lilies of the field; etc.
In that spirit I'm going to try and stop obsessing about locating the point behind these new episodes. It helps that Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster has been the first episode so far which can be enjoyed on its own terms. Which is ironic because it's packed full of in jokes and past references for people like me to pick over (a short list; the two stoners appeared in War of the Coprophages and Quagmire; which was also the episode in which Scully's dog Queequeg met an unfortunate end; the name on one of the tombstones is Kim Manners who directed loads of episodes; and many more, Wikipedia is your friend).
Everyone will have their own favourite scene but mine was the moment right at the start when Mulder launches into a furious rant about how since the pair has been away "much of the unexplained has been explained." That's the problem with the god of the gaps. The gaps keep getting smaller. Having said that, there's definitely part of me that wishes the rock-like creature in Colorado was involved. There's also another part of me which hopes that this doesn't turn out to be the best episode of this run. In a way it's just too silly. Silliness is good, but this episode is too self-aware. I want the best episode of the X-Files to be the best episode of the X-Files. Not one which points out the clich├ęs and makes jokes (very good jokes) about the monster-of-the-week episodes.
To put it another way. I keep hoping that the X-Files has come back because Chris Carter, Glen Morgan, James Wong, et al, have new and exciting stories that they have to tell. I don't want the explanation to be some 35 year old Fox executive who looked at the ratings and cash flow for other reboots and decided to strike while the nostalgia iron was hot by commissioning a few new episodes of that series they loved while they were in High School.
And if that doesn't explain it, then it was probably just ice.

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